Karaoke all the time

Especially on Tuesday nights.

Last night I went to an amazing bar in Church/Wellesley village and indulged in one of my more wholesome (yet totally embarrassing) addictions: karaoke. Literally any time a friend has texted or called and suggested karaoke, my immediate answer is yes. I will karaoke on a Tuesday till 2 in the morning (apparently).

I went to the bar Crews and Tangos last night for karaoke with DJ Elyse (who has a killer voice, btw) and it was madness. The house was reasonably full for a weeknight, and more and more people showed up as we gained momentum. The crowd was amazing – someone from my party sang a duet with a girl he’d never met before just because they each loved the other’s performance so much. The enthusiasm was incredible and everyone was just so positive, it was a fabulous atmosphere for both nervous beginners and obnoxious old-timers like me.

My friend Robyn is the one who is mostly responsible for feeding my insane karaoke addiction. Seriously, we go out mostly on weeknights because that’s where the karaoke is. Robyn this is all your fault. (Check out her tumblr if you like .gifs, Dr. Who, and Dr. Who .gifs.)

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LOOK AT MY FRIEND ALICE

She is Internet famous, which she compares to “when the barista knows your order.” Still, I think it’s wicked cool. Here she is with Second City parodying The Hunger Games:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu-kv3YVqwA

She also attained Internet Fame over the summer with her “Harry Potter: Which House are You?” spoof, in which she played (according to Youtube comments) a “braindead Hufflepuff.” Having never read either The Hunger Games or Harry Potter, I can only assume she hit some sort of nail on whichever end is its head, because she’s been getting rave reviews (and also getting compared to Felicia Day in appearance).

So there you go. Via degrees of separation, you may now consider yourselves readers of a blog whose writer is friends with someone who is Internet Famous. Doesn’t that make your day just a little bit brighter?

You can check out Alice’s website here: http://alicemoran.com/

 

T’is the season…

…for holiday parties. I feel like I’m too young to be going to potlucks in Hamilton and Mississauga; traveling an hour out of the city bringing a covered dish feels like something my parents should be doing. I guess I’ll know I’m really old when the hosts are able to afford to throw an entire dinner party on their own dime, and all I have to bring is a bottle of wine or some flowers; but still, having dinner parties just feels old. Mature, yes (which is probably why I feel out of place with the idea, ha), but having a sit-down dinner feels oddly formal with the kids with whom I used to just hang out.

Could be worse, I guess. At least none of my friends are playing Santa at a mall yet.

For my archery friends

Today’s Comic Tuesday is dedicated to the weirdos that like to stick their shafts in enormous butts from 18 metres away.

That’s right, my archery club.

Also I can't draw noses.

 
This is dedicated to everyone in the club who’s achieved the impressive feat of shooting one arrow into the end of another – whether you meant to or not – and has had to go all the way out to Waterloo to get two new ones. Because that’s basically what you end up with, after the adrenaline’s worn off.

Yay!!

Okay, so I promised to write about my last food class, and how my presentation was based on Dio de los Muertos. But may I interrupt that announcement for another announcement? Good, ’cause I’m gonna.

I’M GOING TO THE FINALS IN U OF T IDOL!!!!

Okay, awesome. Fun times, I can eat dairy again, all is well. (I don’t eat dairy before a performance. It drives me nuts but at least gummy throat is one less thing to worry about come showtime.)

So for my final Cook the Books class at U of T, my group presented on Barbara Kingsolver’s non-fiction work, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about her and her family’s year of eating only food they either grew themselves or traded for food that their neighbours grew (like a chicken for a lamb, or eighty pounds of tomatoes for the equivalent in salad greens, that sort of thing). We thought, great, give us the presentation on local food in December. But, as it turns out, our local farmer’s market The Brickworks (shuttle running from Broadview Station on the TTC) was teeming with local produce.

We managed to put together a Dio de los Muertos feast for 40 which included traditional Pan del Muertes, not-so-traditional sweet potato quesadillas, handmade tortilla chips and homemade salsa (our professor’s contribution), and not-even-a-little-traditional baked apples. Paper skulls adorned the room, along with an altar that we prepared with a centrepiece reflecting the four elements (because it was too hard to represent the 150+) and a motherflippin’ pinata. WE HAD A PINATA. I think that counts as an instant A.

The pinata was full of seeds (contributed by our Chef) and we had soil in which to plant them so our classmates could take them home and continue the local-food journey, even living in the city. Someone quipped that “oh no, the SOIL isn’t organic!” But of course, our group thought of that already, and yes, the soil WAS organic. So there.

The tea we served with dessert was an artisan tea, foraged by a native Canadian woman in the woods of Northern Ontario. It was, according to Hart House’s dishwasher, “like drinking a forest, yes?” Yes.

All in all, a good time was had by all. And I will admit, though somewhat begrudgingly, that not all locavores are snotty arrogant holier-than-thou hipsters. The farmer’s market was pretty cool.

AND I’M CONTINUING ON IN U OF T IDOL!!!!!

Life’s random encounters

Today, at the church Christmas pageant for which I conducted the angel choir, I ran into the first boy I ever kissed.

How awkward to find that he is a bright-scarf-and-fake-glasses-wearing intern-actor hipster.

Another poignant life vignette.

Tonight at work:

Coworker (gay): Wow, there sure are a lot of gay guys in here tonight. I wonder why?

Me: Maybe there’s something in the air…

Coworker: Pot pourri.

FOOD BABY

I did a most shamefacedly embarrassing thing today. As a result, I think I’m going to die.

After falling asleep in class, I headed over to my friend’s house to play Kinect with another friend. (I’ll mention here that I’d like to be able to distinguish them easily for you, but they’re both redheads who were in my Second City class/teen troupe so there’s nothing I can particularly use to differentiate them. Bear with me.) I was like, sweet, video game time, what do video games need? Snacks! So I headed off on my bike to grab some maybe chips or something I don’t know, but discovered I needed to hit an ATM first. On the way back from the bank I passed Krispy Kreme.

Oh no, you say. Oh yes, says I.

I bought a dozen. (This isn’t even the most shameful part.) Twelve delicious icing-soaked calorie behemoths with assorted flavourings to share between three girls. I am so glad that the model party wasn’t tonight instead because I would’ve been twice the weight, in addition to being half the height of everyone there.

So I biked over to my friend’s, which was stupid because she’s like four blocks away from me, and I headed in, doughnuts in hand. They were heated for 8 seconds and absolutely ravaged. Doughnuts were rent limb from limb (if doughnuts have limbs; if not, they were most certainly rent asunder). Icing was everywhere. And we Just Danced like crazy, pretending the calories were being burnt off then and there. (I still haven’t looked up the caloric value of a single Krispy Kreme, but I ate about four, so I’m pretty sure I don’t have to eat for at least three months.)

Time passed and one girl had to go, so my other friend and I went to get some dinner. I know. Dinner. After all that. Getting closer to the shameful part, but still not quite there yet.

We headed on up to Bloor to partake in some delicious cuisine from one of the many varied eateries. Sushi, sandwiches, salads, soups and all manner of healthy fare were practically at our fingertips. And after all those doughnuts, where did we choose to go for dinner?

Smoke’s.

If you don’t know what Smoke’s is, stop right now (thank you very much) while I expound a bit on the deliciousness of poutine. SMOKE’S Poutine.

Poutine on its own is one of the most glorious creations of Canadiankind. Forget basketball, penicillin, the Canadarm and Robin Sparkles. Poutine should be our prime minister. Poutine should be on all our currency. Trudeau was eating poutine when he decided how to lead the country through the October Crisis. There was a poutine shortage the day Rob Ford was elected mayor of Toronto. And that’s just poutine on its own, just naked fries coated in thick gravy and the squeakiest cheese curds imaginable.

Now cue Smoke’s Poutine. Smoke’s has done the near impossible in making poutine even more enjoyable and meal-worthy by modifying its basic structure and adding ingredients to yield such succulent delights as Pulled Pork Poutine, Nachos Grande Poutine, Deli Smoked Meat Poutine, and at least a dozen others including several vegetarian options (but vegans GTFO).

Keeping this gastronomical wonder in mind, try and guess what my remaining redheaded comedienne friend and I chose to eat for dinner. Also remember that the title of this post is FOOD BABY.

That’s right. Four Krispy Kremes and a Regular Sized Philly Cheese Poutine are now duking it out as residing ruler of my stomach and nobody is winning. I biked around my friend’s house twice before heading home, hoping that the extra exercise would do something – anything – to quell this feeling that I am going to die.

It’s no use. Everyone involved in today’s junk food disaster agrees, death is imminent. I’m pretty sure the only way I won’t die is if I drop out of school, quit my job, and concentrate every fibre of my being on digesting this lump of lard, icing, grease, cheese, beef and potatoes in my stomach.

But man, if I die, what a way to go.

Eighteen dollar cosmos

Tonight was a different experience than I expected when I woke up this morning.

This morning I woke up vaguely around 11 and scooted around, doing house-y and eat-y things till 2:30, when I had to go to class to eat some more (see: Cook the Books). Then I went to archery, and after eating way too much sugar at archery the gang headed out for some sushi on Bloor (though not actually AT Sushi on Bloor). Then I got a text from my model/co-waitress-friend who had invited me to this “thing” her friend was having at the Thompson Hotel. “Thing” was actually a pretty good definition.

I went home, put on my Betseys and a silk top from my rich aunt (google Toronto Thompson if you want to know why it had to be silk) and I biked (!) down to meet my friend. In heels. Ow and erk and every awkward noise you can imagine. We walked from Dundas to Queen (no easy feat in five inch Betseys) to meet her friend, then trekked down to Bathurst and Wellington, which is where the über-swanky Thompson is located.

I knew we weren’t cut out for this society when we failed to open the door to the diner (called so ironically. It is highly upscale). Literally three tries and thirty seconds in the lobby and we couldn’t get in the door till the hostess (somewhat derisively) opened the door INWARDS for us. (I apologise for all these parentheses. I might have alcohol in my system. Maybe.)

So after our first encounter with this impressive nouveau-riche monolith, we attempted to get to the rooftop bar where the “thing” was being held. The three of us – two of us easily over six foot and one of us at 5’9″ only, even IN HEELS – I’m not sure why I added that, just pointing out that I felt small and inadequate – stumbled around the hotel foyer till we found the elevator and got in. We pressed the “R for Rooftop” button. The doors closed. We didn’t move.

We pressed the 14 button, hoping to take the elevator up then use the stairs, if need be. We didn’t move.

One of us (who was smarter than I; I admit it was not me) pushed the Door Open button and the three of us were faced with a very heavily sneering elevator porter. (Those still exist??!) The heavily sneering elevator porter inserted a key card into a slot that all of us had somehow missed, then hit R and dismissed us.

We finally made it up to R, the Rooftop Patio, and were immediately faced with a gorgeous Toronto skyline (pic below) and a beautifully illuminated outdoor pool. What. We turned to the bar area and felt dramatically underdressed – plunging necklines, tailored suits, shoes that cost more than my monthly rent. Models and their managers, models and their meal tickets, models and their aspiring model friends. Lots of models, basically. I never would’ve known they were all models, if it weren’t for model-friend; I thought I was just statistically shorter and less beautiful than normal, like maybe it was a rich thing and one day when I’m rich and famous I can buy myself some height and stunning cheekbones. I’m obtuse like that. But model-friend told me she’d never seen that many models in one place. So that’s how I knew there were models. Partying. ON A TUESDAY. What.

The three of us, though I know two of us were feeling woefully underdressed and one of us was feeling even more inadequate, made our way over to the bar to order a Jack and Coke, a Jack and Diet, and a Cosmo. The total bill was thirty-eight dollars. WHAT.

This was the point at which I texted my Bro (not brother – my Bro is actually female but when we’re together we act like males) that I was at a rooftop party with a model and my drink cost $18. She texted back that I clearly knew how to spend my Tuesdays. Which I do. I took that as a compliment and not as a commentary on how utterly weird my day had become (which it had).

So the three of us hung around for a bit, freezing our asses off outside on the patio and joking about cigarette butts flicked from the 16th floor setting babies on fire on the sidewalks below. We were allowed to joke about it because at 10:30 at night no babies should be roaming around downtown Toronto, that is very dangerous and they probably should be at home in bed. The chance of baby-inflammation was incredibly low so it was an appropriate joke at the time. If it had been about 30 degrees hotter and about 12 hours earlier, the possibility would’ve been more real and therefore the joke would not have been funny. But babies walking around at 10:30 pm on a Tuesday getting set on fire by a cigarette butt thrown from the 16th floor in minus 2 degree weather will likely never be a problem. I forget where I was going with this.

So model-friend and I finished our drinks and headed for the elevator, because damn, there is no way we are spending any more money on alcohol that should cost $7 at most. We wondered if you needed an elevatorporter to get down as well and felt too embarrassed to ask any of the fancy suited men or fancy shod ladies so we just waited and luckily another model got off the elevator and we got on and pushed the button and it worked.

Model-friend and I walked back up to Dundas (I shakily due to heelage and shorter-leggage) and decided that what we needed was some cheap booze and a place where NOBODY was wearing a suit. So we got out our bikes, Hank and Rusty, and saddled up the Super Badass Biker Gang (making sure our safety flashing lights were on). We headed over to where Bartender II works and got some blissfully cheap alcohol in an environment that allowed us to a) sit down on normal chairs, b) not feel underdressed even in fancy shoes, and c) not have to worry about flaming babies. And then life was good and STILL not what I had envisioned for my Tuesday night when I got up this morning.

The moral of the story is that life is weird and will bring you to strange and awesome places if you agree to going to “things” with your model friends, because that really wasn’t a party, it was more like a bunch of people paying too much for drinks on a Tuesday and a few people knew each other but it seemed like mostly it was small groups of people introducing themselves to other small groups. But the real moral of the story is don’t pay $18 for a Cosmo when it won’t even be that special, unless you are drinking diamonds. And then watch out in about 24 hours because your bottom will likely hurt a lot.

But the actual moral that has nothing to do with parties or butts is to take chances and try new things, because even if I never go to a “thing” like that again, at least now I can say that I have tasted an $18 cosmo, and got to briefly experience the life that goes with it.

Toronto skyline

$18 cosmos will buy you this view

Hallowe’en

I apparently have a very tragic tradition involving Hallowe’en, that most sacred of pagan nights wherein disguised phantoms roam the night in search of candycandycandysugarcandy.

My tragic tradition was once more unwittingly furthered this Hallowe’en season. I appear to be cursed.

My curse?

Incomprehensible costumes.

Take, for example, the earliest Hallowe’en that I can remember choosing my own costume. (The year before I had been a ghost at my mother’s behest; it’s easy to hide a snowsuit under a sheet in Canadian Octobers.) My first costume, sewn by my mother and picked out by me, all on my own, was a little known 1993 Barbie known as “Secret Heart Barbie.” So the silver lamé and pink broadcloth went fairly far in the way of Barbie fashion. What really put it over the edge in terms of confusing people was the long blonde wig on a four year old half Asian girl. That was the first Hallowe’en I had to explain myself – over and over again – and why exactly it was that I chose to dress as whatever the hell it is I was.

Several more confounding costumes have ensued, all of which seemed perfectly understandable and even a little clever in the planning. Either I have a very strange mind or I suck at costume execution. Or both.

I have been a garden, a wood nymph, a one-person-piggyback (which to be fair was difficult to see in the dark, and since my little sister was a washing machine that year, I changed halfway through the trick-or-treating to become a Pile of Laundry), a Scottish granny in her pajamas (don’t even ask, I don’t know), an extremely-clothed can-can girl, a courtesan (in grade 10 before I accurately knew what a courtesan was but by the time the 12th graders knew exactly what), a CSI, Juno (I totally nailed that costume too, I don’t understand how nobody got that… I HAD A NAMETAG THAT SAID HI, I’M JUNO), and most recently, this year, a Vivaciously Vixen-like Version of V from V for Vendetta. I love that movie, we’re nearing Guy Fawkes’ day, and the mask was only $8. Plus, if I’d dressed as Evey, I would’ve had an even harder time explaining what it is I was supposed to be.

Vemale Version of V

What, Moi blow up British Parliament?

So that ^ was my costume for this year’s Early Hallowe’en Party last Tuesday with my friends. We’re a bunch of geeks. November 5th is my roommates’ anniversary. So I figured, the mask is EVERYWHERE, the movie wasn’t too long ago and it’s shown every year on Teletoon, everyone will know exactly what I am the female version of! This has got to be the year that I don’t have to explain myself! (Granted, that year I was a Blues Brother was pretty good, but when my brother wasn’t around it didn’t really make much sense. Then I was just a chick in a tie and fedora.)

I digress. I showed up to the party lookin’ like I was gonna blow the place up with gunpowder in the basement. (Which I wasn’t, mostly because I’m not sure how to go about doing that and also because I don’t really wanna blow anything up.) I got my rose, my gloves, my trenchcoat which is not pictured (I know, it’s supposed to be a cape – do you think that’s where I went wrong?) and MY GIANT GUY FAWKES MASK. And I got a lot of “I know I’ve seen that, but what are you?” all night. I even got a sheepish, confused “Tuxedo Mask?”

WHAT.

Tuxedo Mask? TUXEDO MASK??? Does that look like a tuxedo or Tuxedo Mask’s mask to you??

Apparently it’s true. Hallowe’en for girls should not be clever or out-of-the-ordinary. It just leads to confusion. Hallowe’en for girls should be slutty sluttiness with sluts on top.

So next year for me should be pretty self-explanatory. I’m going as Hester Prynne.